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What Is Chondrocalcinosis?

Pseudo-osteoarthritis and Pseudogout Are Other Names for Chondrocalcinosis

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Updated June 09, 2014

In chondrocalcinosis, calcium crystals (known also as CPPD or calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate crystals) accumulate in the cartilage of joints. Chondrocalcinosis is frequently associated with pseudogout, osteoarthritis, and pseudo-osteoarthritis. About 5% to 10% of the adult population have chondrocalcinosis. The condition may be associated with more severe forms of arthritis.

How Does Pseudo-osteoarthritis Differ From Osteoarthritis?

CPPD-associated osteoarthitis or pseudo-osteoarthritis is similar to but is not actually the same as typical osteoarthritis. Patients with pseudo-osteoarthritis often have a severe form of degenerative arthritis that resembles osteoarthritis. There is usually gradual onset of symptoms, including joint pain and joint stiffness. In addition to joints affected by typical osteoarthritis, involvement of the following joints suggest pseudo-osteoarthritis: wrists, metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joints, elbows, and shoulders.

Deformities Help Distinguish Pseudo-osteoarthritis

Realizing chondrocalcinosis can damage some joints that are not typically affected by osteoarthritis (for example, wrists, elbows, and shoulders) can help distinguish one condition from the other.

Certain deformities are also suggestive of underlying CPPD crystal deposition and pseudo-osteoarthritis. Flexion contractures of affected joints and knee deformities are common with pseudo-osteoarthritis, as are valgus knee deformities.

Interestingly, CPPD crystals are commonly found in synovial fluid of patients with typical osteoarthritis. Perhaps this is why some patients with osteoarthritis respond to colchicine, a medication that blocks inflammation caused by CPPD crystals.

Sources:

CPPD Deposition Disease - What's New Under a Polarizing Light? Rosenthal AK. Arthritis Foundation. Wisconsin Chapter. Accessed 5/11/2009.
http://www.arthritis.org/media/chapters/wis/documents/just%20joints%20vol1_issue4.pdf

Chondrocalcinosis. A.D.A.M. Copyright 2004.
http://adam.about.net/reports/000035_3.htm

Pathogenesis of Crystal Deposition. Pseudo-Osteoarthritis. Chapter 12. Page 265. Primer on the Rheumatic Diseases. 13th Edition. Arthritis Foundation. Springer Science.

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